Yet another Essential review this time. Check back on Wednesday for a review of a new comic in the first issue of the Marvel Universe: The End miniseries.

General Information

Title: Essential Avengers Vol. 1
Credited to: Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Don Heck and John Buscema
Original Publication Date: 2001 reprint of material first published in
1966 and 1967.
ISBN: 0-7851-0741-X
Cover Price: $14.95US, $21.95 Can
Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

The Issues

This contains Avengers volume one issues 25-46, Avengers Annual 1, and
the Ant Man piece of Tales to Astonish 27. The breakdown is as
follows:
#25: Dr. Doom decides to prove himself to the Fantastic Four
by taking out the Avengers.
#26-27: Attuma tries to take over the surface world, again.
#28: The Avengers face the Collector.
#29-30: The Black Widow recruits help to face the Avengers.
#31: The Avengers face the Keeper of the Flame.
#32-33: The Sons of the Serpent try to encourage racism and
hate-mongering in America.
#34-35: The Living Laser faces the Avengers, and falls in love with
the Wasp. (Has there ever been a female hero in the Marvel Universe
that some villain hasn’t instantly fallen in love with?)
#36-37: A spacecraft full of Ultroids captures the Avengers.
#38: The Enchantress sends Hercules after the Avengers.

#39: The Mad Thinker becomes the next villain to attack the Avengers
in hopes of scaring the Fantastic Four.
#40: The Avengers try to collect the Cosmic Cube before Namor or the
Red Skull.
#41-42: Diablo restores Dragon Man and goes after the Avengers.
#43-44: The Psychtron and the Red Guardian face the super-team.
Annual #1: All Avengers up to this point (except the Hulk) band
together to face the Mandarin and the villains he recruited.
#45: The Avengers face the Super-Adaptoid as he tries to kill Captain
America.
#46: The Human Top gets out of jail and assumes the name Whirlwind
before seeking revenge against Goliath and the Wasp.
Tales to Astonish #27 (portion): This is the seven page story that
first introduced Ant Man. It’s also reprinted in Essential
Ant-Man Vol. 1
, but that was printed after this volume.

Premise

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes face a new set of villains, and keep the
roster rotating.

High Point

The Sons of the Serpent storyline was a bit heavy-handed, but it’s
nice to see a challenge that isn’t solved by hitting the villain until
the villain falls down.

Low Point

Dr. Doom wouldn’t have let the boy suffer.

The Scores

This didn’t feel original much of the time. The rotating
roster kept it fresh to a degree, but the villains were almost always
coming in for a rematch, so things just felt like retreads of older
stuff. I give it 3 out of 6.

The artwork was primarily by Don Heck, and it’s usually very
good. Some reproduction problems get in the way, though. I give it 5
out of 6.

The stories told tend to be good. The rotating roster helps
keep a different dynamic in the team with each issue. The changing of
some relationships (such as Hawkeye and Cap, or Hawkeye and Black
Widow, or Quicksilver and mankind) helps keep this fresh, and keep the
personal lives of these heroes active. (This is a freedom a team book
has that is difficult in a solo title.) Some of the enemies were
outsmarted rather than outfought, which I always like to see. There
were some miserable ideas, and some predictable outcomes though. I
give it 4 out of 6.



The characterization was one of the better points. Hawkeye,
Goliath, Hercules, and Quicksilver had some well-written introspective
moments. Evidence of nice work of Captain America is here, but most
of it seems to be going on in his own title, and just touched on
here. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced was often weak. Most of
the interactions with villains seemed like the same old thing,
especially since so many of them were coming in for rematches. I give
it 3 out of 6.

The flow was typical Stan Lee-era stuff. The art was drawn
with a fast paced battle, but the dialogue needed too much time to get
through. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, this is a decent chunk of history with some
important moments for the roster (with the introductions of Hercules,
Black Widow, and Goliath as Avengers), but I don’t imagine these
battles would be referenced much, apart from the “previous appearance”
footnotes in the next rematch of some of these villains. I give it 4
out of 6.

In total, Essential Avengers Vol. 2 receives 28 out of 42.